Bradford shopkeepers warned over street drinkers sales
Shopkeepers selling super-strength alcohol to nuisance street drinkers in Bradford could be prosecuted under a new crackdown by police and businesses.
Retailers around North Parade and the Oastler Centre have agreed to mark cans and bottles with a special solution.
It means if the alcohol is found in the possession of street drinkers, police can trace where it was bought.
If retailers are found to be fuelling the problem they will be issued with a community protection notice (CPN).
It is thought to be the first time that these powers, introduced under anti-social behaviour legislation, have been used in the UK.
Under the licensing act, retailers of alcohol have a duty to promote the prevention of crime and disorder and prevent public nuisance.
If they are found to be breaching the CPN, for example by serving super-strength drink to a drunk person, they could be prosecuted and face a fine of up to £20,000.
David Oxtoby, owner of JH Oxtoby and Sons, a clock, watch and barometer specialists, said up to 20 drinkers congregated daily near his business.
"There is a statue and it seems to have become a meeting place for the drinkers," he said.
"Some days in the morning there's one or two knocking about, but by the afternoon there's many more and as you can imagine when they've been sat there drinking, things get a bit lively.
"I get customers coming from all over Yorkshire and this is not the picture we want to be painting of Bradford. It's not good for the businesses and it does put some customers off from coming."
Shopkeeper Sanjay Kumar, who is part of the scheme, said that to stop the problem of nuisance street drinkers the policy had to be national.
He said: "If I don't sell it to them they'll go next door or maybe the next shop after that.
"If they need a drink, they will go and they will find it".
A similar scheme, also using the SmartWater liquid, has been tested in Wakefield and has been shown to reduce street drinking by about 60%, police said.
Insp Pete Hall said: "This is not about catching out retailers but it is important that we work together to tackle the source of these problems and prevent them from spreading.
"If we start small and make it bigger I see the project being rolled across the rest of Bradford.